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No sound or rational basis for terminating employment for loss of trust and confidence

Background The employee, Ms Anders, commenced employment with the Hutchins School in about 2001. Most recently she was engaged in the position of academic administrator, which required her to undertake both a senior mathematics teaching role and administrative duties. Up until 2013, Ms Anders had enjoyed a good employment record. During 2013, Ms Anders advised Hutchins School she was struggling with her workload and was subsequently diagnosed with depression and anxiety. During the later half of 2013, Ms Anders was often distressed and anxious at work, required time off and medical intervention. Ms Anders was relieved of her teaching duties for a week in the final school term of 2013 so she could train co-workers to undertake her administrative duties while she took long service leave during the first term of 2014. In December 2013, the co-workers complained to the school that they could no longer work with Ms Anders.  On 20 December 2013, Hutch...

23 March 2016

Ignoring employee complaints of inappropriate behaviour proves costly!

An employer's failure to appropriately respond to an employee's complaints regarding inappropriate behaviour has proved costly with an award of $1.3 million in damages being made against it. Background Ms Mathews was engaged by Winslow Constructors (Vic) Pty Ltd (Winslow) as a labourer in about August 2008. During her employment, Ms Mathews was subject to repeated and frequent inappropriate conduct including sexual harassment, bullying and abusive behaviour by fellow employees and subcontractors. Ms Mathews was initially reluctant to lodge a complaint regarding the conduct given her immediate foreman was responsible for some of the inappropriate conduct.  When Ms Mathews complained to the area site manager, he would respond with words to the effect of 'leave it with me'.  In September 2009, Ms Mathews was transferred to another crew and the inappropriate behaviour ceased, until June 2010 when Ms Mathews was inexplicably moved back in...

5 February 2016

Fair Work Act Amendments

Originally introduced to Parliament on 27 February 2014, the Fair Work Amendment Act 2015 (the Amending Act) came into effect on 27 November 2015 in a somewhat 'diluted' form to the original Bill proposed by the then Minister for Employment, Eric Abetz.  The following table summarises the main amendments as passed. Subject Amendments  Greenfield Agreements When negotiating greenfield agreements, a union is a bargaining representative only if it is entitled to represent the interests of one or more employees covered by the proposed agreement and the employer has agreed to bargain with the union. This means an employer may potentially choose to negotiate with only one union in relation to coverage and not others. Good faith bargaining rules will now also apply to greenfield agreements. The Bill introduc...

5 February 2016